Red Dwarf

Series V - Episode 6
Back to Reality - originally aired 26 Mar 1992.


The crew encounter a mysterious ship only to discover its inhabitants have all commited suicide after being exposed to a hallucinogenic toxin released by a giant squid-like creature. Unfortunately they are infected and, in their haste to flee from the creature, they die, only to awaken in the real world where they discover they've spent the last four years of their lives in a video game! With no idea who they are, the former crew mates quickly discover their true identities, and don't at all like what they learn...

The Plot

Relatively safe in StarBug (and apparantly without a light bee), Rimmer watches over a wireless video connection while Dave Lister, Kyryten and The Cat explore the wreckage of the seeding ship Esperanto on an ocean moon, the crew of Red Dwarf discover the dead bodies of several of the crew of the Esperanto. The captain has a bullet-hole in his head. Another crew member has hung himself. An Asian crew member has committed seppuku. Some kind of program to rapidly enhance the evolutionary process was underway, bringing life to the planet at a rate millions of times faster than natural. They find a fish-like creature, much like a haddock. It too is dead, of voluntary suffocation. According to Kryten, it closed its gills and killed itself.

"Why would a haddock kill itself?" asks Lister, disgusted and confused. "Why am I even asking that question?" The Cat discovers a sticky goo, sniffs at it and wonders out loud what it is. Kryten soon figures it out, and tells them they must all leave immediately. He explains it is a toxin that induces hallucinations and periodic bouts of despair. It was exposure to this toxin that caused the deaths of the crew, and it would soon begin to affect them. Before they get out of the elevator, Kryten, Lister and the Cat are all in tears.

They make it to StarBug, but before they can administer an antidote to the toxin, Holly informs them that a huge blip has appeared on the radar: some kind of squid 2000 meters directly above them. "It thinks we're either a threat, food or a mate. It's going to try to kill us, eat us or hump us."

They unanimously agree to take evasive action, but before they can reach the safety of the ocean surface they are blasted with the venomous ink of the squid and crash into reef. StarBug explodes, and they all die.

The words Game Over appear ominously on the screen.

Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten awaken in a small suite where they are informed they've spent the last four years in the AR game, Red Dwarf. They scored 4%. A technician arrives to help them get unsuited, and idly chats about the game. "So 'ow'd you die, then?" he asks with a thick accent (Cockney?).

"Some kind of squid..." replies Rimmer.

"What! The despair squid? Why didn't you use the laser cannons?"

"StarBug wasn't equipped with lasers."

"The laser's aren't on StarBug, they're on the Esparanto. Esparanto. Esparanto means hope. Hope defeats despair. The despair squid. What a bunch of twonks! No wonder you only scored 4%!"

He insults them a bit further by informing them of all the ways they messed up: Lister failed to get Kochanski, Rimmer failed to discover the captain's hidden message revealing his true (and impressive) identity, and the Cat and Kryten failed to accomplish anything at all. They are directed to the recuperation lounge, where they learn their true identities. Cat is none other than Duane Dibbley, possibly the biggest nerd in existence. Kryten discovers he's half-human, a detective in the Cybernautics division named Jake Bullet. Rimmer and Lister turn out to be brothers. Rimmer is Billy Doyle, a complete waste of a human being, who smells of yak urine. And Lister is his more successful brother, Sebastian Doyle, head of the Ministry of Alteration.

Before allowing their memories to fully recover, they decide to head out to the garage and check out their car. On the way out, they see the next players in line. The other Lister has already saved Kochanski. Dejected, they head to the garage and prepare to discover the real world.

But I won't spoil it for you!

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